Private prison will hurt our local businesses


I am writing you today after almost 33 years in business in Evanston. I have read with great interest each article you have published with regard to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center being proposed for Evanston. 

As best I can determine, most of the individuals who have been published supporting the ICE facility are mostly supported by tax dollars and  have little knowledge what it means to be in private sector business.

 I am surprised that I am the first one to write from the business perspective. Morality aside, the ICE facility will hurt many, if not all, long-time businesses in Evanston by simply recruiting their employees away. The available workforce in Evanston currently works for someone else. If anybody believes people won’t change jobs for higher wages, they are simply fooling themselves.

ICE will take employees from every lower paying business and institution in Evanston.  Not only am I worried about my company, but I am concerned about the Wyoming State Hospital, Evanston Regional Hospital, Uinta Senior Center, Walmart, McDonalds, Kate’s, Suds Bros., the Dunmar, Rocky Mountain Care and every other business in Evanston that will be at risk by losing an already diminishing workforce.

When all of these businesses have to downsize — or fail and possibly disappear — who will employ all the former ICE employees when MTC leaves in four or five years? I guess no one remembers Sento or Ehman Engineering, which got state dollars, hired employees from us and all the other businesses in Evanston, and left the county shortly thereafter. That was during a booming economy, which is not the state of our current economy.

We have as many as 20 vacant positions on an ongoing basis, and most of the other employers face similar shortages.

Just imagine what will happen after MTC builds their private prison near Evanston, and a new president and congress decide we no longer need ICE detention centers. Poof, we have a new historical monument and a tribute to man’s lack of insight or foresight.

John Holderegger



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